Questions & Answers from
Dr. Narain Mandhan at Kirby Medical Group
1. Is COVID testing available locally? What types of tests are available?
Yes, for symptomatic individuals. Rapid antigen testing can be performed if symptoms have been present for less than 5 days. PCR testing is also available for those with symptoms greater than 5 days or as a confirmation follow up test.
Asymptomatic patients can get testing at the IDPH site at Market Place Mall from 8-4 daily. There is also a testing site at the Decatur Civic Center 8-4 daily.
2. What is the process?
If you have symptoms concerning for COVID 19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, headaches, sinus congestion, body aches, nausea, diarrhea, loss of sense of smell or taste) we recommend you call your physician’s clinic before presenting to the hospital. At Kirby Medical Group, we would schedule you for a telehealth appointment with one of the providers and determine what testing and treatment would be best. If we believe you should be seen in the clinic during that call, we will instruct you on the process. During the telephone appointment we will instruct you on how to register to get the test performed through our drive-up services.
3. When would I be notified of my results?
We are providing Antigen (rapid) testing and PCR testing. Your results will be called to you within 48 hours. It is very important that you answer your phone as results will not be left on voicemail. Please ensure we have the most current telephone number so we can easily reach you.
4. What do I do if I am negative?
There is a possibility of false negative testing with both types of tests. If you test negative but are symptomatic, we recommend you continue to quarantine at home as well as isolate away from other household members if positive. We may recommend a repeat PCR test in 1-2 days if symptoms persist. We may also offer a follow up appointment in person to perform an exam and determine if another diagnosis could be the cause of your symptoms.
5. What if I test positive?
If you test is positive at Kirby Medical Center, you will be contacted by us as well as the health department. We recommend that you isolate at home per the CDC guidelines: 10 days from symptom onset, fever-free without medications for 24 hours and improvement in symptoms. You should also contact all possible exposures for the 2 days prior to symptoms onset and inform them of a COVID 19 exposure. They will also need to quarantine for 14 days from their last day of exposure to you. If you are unable to isolate away from family members, they will need to remain in quarantine for 14 days after their last day of exposure to you (possibly up to 24 days)
6. What should I do to feel better?
If you test positive for COVID 19 we recommend you rest and drink plenty of fluids. You can purchase a pulse oximeter to monitor your oxygen levels. Tylenol and ibuprofen can help with body aches, headaches and fevers. OTC cough and cold medications can also help with symptoms. Some patients may require inhalers to help with their breathing which may be prescribed by your telehealth provider. **Studies have not shown any benefit to using steroids, antiviral medications or antibiotics for people with mild symptoms. **
7. What symptoms should make me worried?
Worsening trouble breathing, chest pain, inability to eat or drink, mental status changes. Please call your Dr’s office or go to the ER.
8. I have been exposed to a colleague who have tested positive, should I be in quarantine?
According to CDC recommendations you should be in quarantine for 14 days from the date of last close contact.
9. When can I go back to work/school?
If you have had a close exposure to COVID 19 and are asymptomatic we recommend you quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure. If you test positive for COVID 19 you will need to quarantine for 10 days from the positive test. If you have symptoms you would quarantine for 10 days from the onset of symptoms. In some serious cases we may recommend quarantine for up to 20 days since onset of symptoms.
Q&A Regarding Public Testing for COVID at Kirby Medical Center
1. Is free drive-up COVID testing available to the public at Kirby Medical Center?
Kirby does not offer free drive up COVID testing to the public. We have implemented a special testing program exclusive to the schools to help the Piatt County school districts and the families with school age children manage the challenges of attending school during the pandemic.
2. How many tests have been performed under the School COVID Testing Program?
900 tests have been performed through the first 5 weeks of the program.
Q&A from the
1. I’m often asked about contact tracing. Some individuals will have received new diagnoses and then no one will call – why not?
We have uncovered a lag in the reporting of cases from testing sites/area providers. We cannot begin contact tracing until we have a case report in our system. The situation has been brought to our attention from patients who received a diagnosis and then notify us that they tested positive and the case report isn’t found. Worst case scenario thus far has been that we won’t receive the case report until 5 days later.
2. If a person is diagnosed positive, what defines a close contact? We had a case with an employee at the courthouse, why wasn’t the courthouse closed down?
A “close contact” is someone who was exposed to a case and was within 6 feet of that case for a cumulative duration of 15 mins or longer. Just because other staff were at the courthouse, doesn’t mean they have all been exposed. For many workers, they are never within 6 feet and may only pass one another in a hallway. That would technically meet that definition. While surfaces may theoretically be a vehicle for the virus, the CDC has noted that this is not how the virus is known to transmit. It passes from person to person contact.
3. Why aren’t you enforcing a masking mandate like they do in other counties?
Some counties have adopted county ordinances that have the effect of law in those areas. That has not been the case in our service area. Since the mask issue was not legislatively adopted, it does not have the full force of law. In our situation, by state statute, our legal representation is provided by the States Attorney’s Office of each county that we serve. We rely on these offices to prosecute these cases. In any situation involving a fine, the accused have a right to due process to contest the fine. The States Attorney’s Offices would represent our agency in these cases. Without the force of law, there would be some difficulty with prosecution and, as such, many counties around us have made the decision not to enforce this executive order.
4. Why is testing so important?
There is a relationship between the numbers of tests to our area’s positivity rate. If the positivity rate rises above 8 percent, it often will trigger additional mitigation efforts. High test numbers often will keep this positivity rate in check. Many of us won’t go in for medical care unless we have symptoms, but with testing, due to the high numbers of asymptomatic cases (may be up to 40% of all cases), we encourage widespread testing.
5. What are some of the most important things we can do to prevent spread?
I believe in the strategies you’ve all already heard: washing hands frequently, watching your distance (6 feet or more apart), wearing a mask when out in public. But I also believe it is very important that vulnerable populations are sheltered. Evidence has shown us that the elderly, those with health concerns such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular issues etc., don’t deal nearly as well with this virus as the healthy and younger do. That has been our experience locally as well. Overwhelmingly the deaths in our population have occurred in elderly populations with several co-morbidities. There is increasing evidence that masks work to protect not only those around you, but also the wearer as well. Masking will never reach 100 percent effectiveness and there is no way to mitigate all risk, but it helps.
6. Why aren’t you providing daily updates?
I rely on our contact tracing staff to update me on case numbers and I post them as soon as I get them. As the number of cases grow exponentially it gets very difficult for them to get this information to me on a routine basis. We strive for updates 2-3 times per week, but sometimes that gets especially difficult. The reason why is because we are trying to get ALL cases reported. Many counties rely only on what is reported in the Illinois National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (INEDSS) and readily accessible by the public at any time via the IDPH website, but for those who have checked, there is a rather large difference in what is reported there vs what we report. Our staff are reporting data from ALL sources: there are multiple providers, multiple labs, multiple testing centers reporting data to us and these sources sometimes will not enter their data into the INEDSS system. We have to work through multiple files from multiple testing sites to get accurate data reported in our reports. We ask the public for patience as we get these posted. In the meantime, check the IDPH website for ongoing trends in our area.
Questions & Answers from